Section 508 Procurement Playbook

This is a draft. You may fork and edit this document on GitHub.

The implementation of Section 508 standards can be improved by ensuring that contract awards contain strict requirements and incentive payments for achieving Section 508 compliance. The plays listed here are intended to help program managers and contracting officers ensure that the government is purchasing Section 508-compliant products and services.

Software Development Contract Plays

  1. Integrate accessibility as an RFP evaluation factor
  2. In the evaluation process, review for contractor's knowledge of Section 508 and past performance
  3. In the award process, tie payment to accessibility attestation by a third party


  • Determine weight in relation to other criteria in the RFP process
  • Identify accessibility specifications for each project and spell out the accessibility requirements
  • Reference Section 508 as the standard, but also integrate feedback from users and project owners
  • Identify user population and specific user requirements (i.e. will the VA's user population be the same as GSA's)
  • Require contractors to submit a VPAT and examples of Section 508 compliant work in their past performance
  • Awards should include requirements to involve a third-party accessibility compliance contractor for testing and reporting
  • This should be done in conjunction with existing sprint schedules and regular testing
  • Incentive payments for accessibility or accessibility CLINs should be released only after final certification by the third party

COTS Plays

  1. In the RFP process, state specific standards for accessibility
  2. Tie release of payment to attestation by a third party tester


  • Once software has been tested, ensure that that version will remain in a centralized database and can be referenced by other contracting offices
  • For name-brand specific procurements, CORs are required to research Section 508 compliance during the market research phase and provide a summary to COs.

Hardware Purchasing Plays

  1. Establish standard language for hardware categories
  2. Explicitly state specific standards for accessibility
  3. Ensure that hardware being purchased has the capacity to accommodate accessibility software

Original contributors: Dave Zvenyach, John Tindel, Shannon Sartin, Kara Harkins, and Alan deLevie.